Looking Back at 3 Key Bills/Jets Matchups

The Buffalo Bills needed to win the majority of their three key matchups if they hoped to move to 5-3. The Bills defeated the New York Jets 43-23 on Sunday and ending up faring very well in all three key matchups.

The Buffalo Bills have had their struggles with the Jets in the past. To defeat the New York Jets, the Bills had to hold their own against a dominant defensive line, get their wide receivers involved, and have their No. 1 cornerback play like a No. 1 cornerback. Here’s a look at how all three key matchups turned out in Week 8.

Matchup of the Week: Bills Offensive Line vs. Jets Defensive Line

The key to victory wasn’t stopping the Jets defensive line, it was containing them. Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison make up a terrific front for the Jets. Against the Bills, Wilkerson and Richardson each recorded half a sack. The trio finished with 20 total tackles (11 solo, 9 assisted) and three quarterback hurries. They also played a big part in limiting Buffalo’s run game to 32 carries for 67 yards (2.09 YPC) and a touchdown. That said, they weren’t disruptive enough against an offensive line that had struggled quite a bit entering the game.

Kraig Urbik played well in his first start of the season at left guard and Cordy Glenn was also solid at left tackle. Rookie Seantrel Henderson quite possibly had his best start of the year. The trio had an overall grade of -0.6 according to Pro Football Focus (Subscription Required). They weren’t outstanding by any means, but they were average. That’s all they needed to be. The analytics site wasn’t kind to Eric Wood (-5.9) and Erik Pears (-2.1), but the majority of their negative grades came in run blocking. The front five did their job for most of the day in regards to giving Kyle Orton time to throw the ball. Thanks for Buffalo’s offensive line, Orton was able to complete 10-of-17 passes for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Anytime your quarterback completes 40 percent of his passes for touchdowns, you’ve had a good day.

Bills WRs vs. Jets CBs

Perhaps I should have added tight end into this category as well. Buffalo’s passing game was certainly effective against a poor Jets secondary. Here is a breakdown of Buffalo’s wide receiver and tight end stats:

Sammy Watkins – 3 receptions, 157 yards, 1 touchdown

Robert Woods – 3 receptions, 50 yards, 1 touchdown (Only played 18 snaps)

Chris Hogan – 1 reception, 14 yards

Scott Chandler – 1 reception, 12 yards, 1 touchdown

Lee Smith – 2 receptions, 5 yards, 1 touchdown

Buffalo’s receivers and tight ends were responsible for all of Orton’s receiving yards and touchdowns. If you remove the tight ends, Buffalo’s wide outs had seven receptions for 221 yards (31.5 YPC) and two touchdowns. This was an overwhelming victory for Buffalo’s offense.

Stephon Gilmore vs. Eric Decker

Stephon Gilmore wasn’t matched up against Decker all day, but he had his best game of the season. PFF gave Gilmore an overall +1.8 grade for his efforts against the Jets, and a +2.6 in coverage. He finished the game with five total tackles (4 solo, 1 assisted) and an interception. Gilmore was targeted five times by the Jets and gave up three receptions for 23 yards. Buffalo’s former first round pick only gave up two yards after catch.

Decker was targeted 12 times on Sunday and caught seven passes for 40 yards. He was the team’s second leading receiver behind Jace Amaro.

This matchup is a bit of a wash as they weren’t lined up all day, but Gilmore had the better individual day by far.

These three matchups help illustrate why the Bills defeated the Jets 43-23 on Sunday and have playoff hopes this season. 

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